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"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech," said Benjamin Franklin.
Everyone has an opinion and the right to speak that opinion our forefathers granted us that right it's called the First Amendment. Read it then discuss it in the Forums. Find out about Donald J. Trump’s time in the white house. Donald J. Trump is a crook, a con man and liar who uses alternative facts and projects himself on to other.

Donald J. Trump Is The Greatest Threat To National Security

America has never faced a greater threat to national security than Donald J. Trump. Republicans called out Hillary for her handling of classified material but Trump is far worse than Hillary when it comes to national security. Our Allies cannot trust Trump the president of Untied States not to leak their secrets and expose their assets. Our Allies will not be open to sharing any secrets that could expose assets or methods and that could include secrets that could prevent harm to Americans or American assets.

You cannot blame them nobody who has a brain and sense god gave them trust Trump. Trump disclosed classified information to the Russians in his first 4 months of office. Trump discussed classified information provided by an U.S. ally during an Oval Office meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, providing sufficient details that could be used by the Russians to deduce the identity of the ally. We cannot trust Trump will not to leak more secrets and possibly expose some of our assets. Trump has discussed sensitive information on unsecured cellphone that Chinese and Russian spies eavesdrop on his calls.

Trump has also tweeted classified photos.  We know what Trump has disclosed in public but we do not know what he has said in private. We do not know what classified secrets Trump may have given to the Putin or others in his private conversations and that should scare the hell out of you. Read below click the links to find out for yourself how great a threat to national security Donald J. Trump is.

By Alexandra Hutzler

After Attorney General William Barr criticized the president for making his job "impossible," Donald Trump asserted Friday that he has the "legal right" to interfere with criminal cases handled by the Department of Justice. But former DOJ officials warn that any interference by the president in criminal prosecutions, while not illegal, is a highly unusual move that would undermine the country's justice system.

“The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.” A.G. Barr This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2020

"The president arguably, as head of the executive branch, has the constitutional authority and discretion to give direction to the Department of Justice or any other executive branch. But it is grossly improper and an abuse of that discretion for the president to seek to influence a criminal investigation," David Laufman, the DOJ's former counterintelligence chief, told Newsweek. He added that throughout the history of the Justice Department there have been "explicit understandings" in how the White House can communicate with the law enforcement agency—until now. "I can't think of any president in recent modern history that has repeatedly made public statements about pending criminal investigations, prosecutions or trials with the intent to influence them," Laufman said. Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman agreed, noting that there's nothing in the Constitution preventing Trump from telling the attorney general how to handle a certain case but that it's "just never done." "It's never done because it looks like the president is interfering in the system of justice, that he is putting his own personal beliefs on top of what we want as even-handed enforcement of our criminal law," Akerman told Newsweek. "This is something unique to Donald Trump."

By Paul Sonne, Josh Dawsey, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller

President Trump has routinely communicated with his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and other individuals speaking on cellphones vulnerable to monitoring by Russian and other foreign intelligence services, current and former U.S. officials said.

Phone records released this week by the House Intelligence Committee revealed extensive communications between Giuliani, unidentified people at the White House and others involved in the campaign to pressure Ukraine, with no indication that those calls were encrypted or otherwise shielded from foreign surveillance.

The revelations raise the possibility that Moscow was able to learn about aspects of Trump’s attempt to get Ukraine to investigate a political rival months before that effort was exposed by a whistleblower report and the impeachment inquiry, officials said.

Trump is not identified by name in the House phone records, but investigators said they suspect he may be a person with a blocked number listed as “-1” in the files. And administration officials said separately that Trump has communicated regularly with Giuliani on unsecured lines.

By Steve Benen

The House Intelligence Committee this week released a new report on Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal, which included phone records that pointed to a familiar concern: the president continues to use unsecured telephones. That includes frequent communications with Rudy Giuliani – while the former mayor was abroad – that the Washington Post reported were “vulnerable to monitoring by Russian and other foreign intelligence services.”

The revelations raise the possibility that Moscow was able to learn about aspects of Trump’s attempt to get Ukraine to investigate a political rival months before that effort was exposed by a whistleblower report and the impeachment inquiry, officials said. […]

The disclosures provide fresh evidence suggesting that the president continues to defy the security guidance urged by his aides and followed by previous incumbents – a stance that is particularly remarkable given Trump’s attacks on Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign for her use of a private email account while serving as secretary of state. The problem, of course, extends beyond breathtaking hypocrisy. By willfully ignoring security guidance, Trump has created a vulnerability that Russia could exploit to advance its interests over ours.

The Post spoke to John Sipher, former deputy chief of Russia operations at the CIA, who said the Republican president and his lawyer have effectively “given the Russians ammunition they can use in an overt fashion, a covert fashion or in the twisting of information.” He added that it’s so likely that Russia tracked these calls that the Kremlin probably knows more now about those conversations than impeachment investigators. The same article noted that Trump has “absolutely” created a security issue by using lines vulnerable to interception and blowing off aides who’ve tried to steer the president in more responsible directions.

And in case that weren’t quite enough, the Post reported that after White House officials made “a concerted attempt” in 2017 to have Trump use secure White House lines, the president came to realize this meant officials such as then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly would know to whom Trump was speaking. The president considered this unacceptable and “reverted to using his cellphone.”

CBS News - National Security Council expert Fiona Hill confirmed during her testimony on Thursday that President Trump ignored his top advisors when they informed him that the cospiracy theory that Ukraine was involved in the 2016 U.S. election interference was indeed false. Asked if she believed President Trump "instead listened to Rudy Giuliani's views," she responded: "That appears to be the case, yes." State Department official David Holmes said Russia wanted to deflect responsibility for its own interference and drive a wedge between the U.S. and Ukraine. Video

Retired Adm. William McRaven says Trump doesn’t believe in the ideals that made America great
By Mike Murphy

The U.S. commander who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden says the U.S. is under attack again — “but from within,” and it’s the president doing it. In a scathing op-ed published Thursday by the New York Times, retired Adm. William McRaven, former chief of the U.S. Special Operations Command, said it may be time for the U.S. to get a new president, since President Donald Trump is not a capable leader. “The America that they believed in was under attack, not from without, but from within.” Retired Adm. William McRaven McRaven said he was struck by the men and women who serve — and have served — America who he said now harbor “an underlying current of frustration, humiliation, anger and fear” because of Trumps’s words and deeds. “As I stood on the parade field at Fort Bragg, one retired four-star general, grabbed my arm, shook me and shouted, ‘I don’t like the Democrats, but Trump is destroying the Republic!’” he wrote. McRaven said America’s greatness is reflected in its ideals. “We are the most powerful nation in the world because our ideals of universal freedom and equality have been backed up by our belief that we were champions of justice, the protectors of the less fortunate.” “President Trump seems to believe that these qualities are unimportant or show weakness. He is wrong,” he said. “And if this president doesn’t understand their importance, if this president doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, both domestically and abroad, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office — Republican, Democrat or independent — the sooner, the better. The fate of our Republic depends upon it.” more...

If President Trump doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office.
By William H. McRaven

Last week I attended two memorable events that reminded me why we care so very much about this nation and also why our future may be in peril. The first was a change of command ceremony for a storied Army unit in which one general officer passed authority to another. The second event was an annual gala for the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) Society that recognizes past and present members of the intelligence and Special Operations community for their heroism and sacrifice to the nation. What struck me was the stark contrast between the words and deeds heralded at those events — and the words and deeds emanating from the White House. On the parade field at Fort Bragg, N.C., where tens of thousands of soldiers have marched either preparing to go to war or returning from it, the two generals, highly decorated, impeccably dressed, cleareyed and strong of character, were humbled by the moment. They understood the awesome responsibility that the nation had placed on their shoulders. They understood that they had an obligation to serve their soldiers and their soldiers’ families. They believed in the American values for which they had been fighting for the past three decades. They had faith that these values were worth sacrificing everything for — including, if necessary, their lives. Having served with both officers for the past 20 years, I know that they personified all that is good and decent and honorable about the American military with genuineness of their humility, their uncompromising integrity, their willingness to sacrifice all for a worthy cause, and the pride they had in their soldiers. Later that week, at the O.S.S. Society dinner, there were films and testimonials to the valor of the men and women who had fought in Europe and the Pacific during World War II. We also celebrated the 75th anniversary of D-Day, recognizing those brave Americans and allies who sacrificed so much to fight Nazism and fascism. We were reminded that the Greatest Generation went to war because it believed that we were the good guys — that wherever there was oppression, tyranny or despotism, America would be there. We would be there because freedom mattered. We would be there because the world needed us and if not us, then who? Also that evening we recognized the incredible sacrifice of a new generation of Americans: an Army Special Forces warrant officer who had been wounded three times, the most recent injury costing him his left leg above the knee. He was still in uniform and still serving. There was an intelligence officer, who embodied the remarkable traits of those men and women who had served in the O.S.S. And a retired Marine general, whose 40 years of service demonstrated all that was honorable about the Corps and public service. But the most poignant recognition that evening was for a young female sailor who had been killed in Syria serving alongside our allies in the fight against ISIS. Her husband, a former Army Green Beret, accepted the award on her behalf. Like so many that came before her, she had answered the nation’s call and willingly put her life in harm’s way. For everyone who ever served in uniform, or in the intelligence community, for those diplomats who voice the nation’s principles, for the first responders, for the tellers of truth and the millions of American citizens who were raised believing in American values — you would have seen your reflection in the faces of those we honored last week. But, beneath the outward sense of hope and duty that I witnessed at these two events, there was an underlying current of frustration, humiliation, anger and fear that echoed across the sidelines. The America that they believed in was under attack, not from without, but from within. more...

By Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump told two top Russian officials that he was unconcerned about the country's interference in the 2016 election during a 2017 Oval Office meeting, a remark that caused White House officials to tightly restrict access to his comments, The Washington Post reported Friday. The Post, citing conversations with three former officials with knowledge of the matter, said Trump made the statement to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the same meeting in which Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with the foreign officials. The former officials told the paper that a summary of the meeting was kept highly restricted to keep Trump's comment from getting out to the public, the Post reported. According to the paper, Trump told the officials that he was unconcerned about Russia's interference because the US "did the same in other countries." The White House's handling of records of Trump's communications with foreign officials has come under scrutiny in recent days after a whistleblower complaint about a call between Trump and Ukraine's President and the remarkable steps aides took to keep the conversation from becoming public led to a House impeachment inquiry into the President's conduct. The Post said it was unclear whether the summary of the meeting was placed in the same highly secured electronic system that the whistleblower alleges held the phone call with Ukraine's President. According to the three former officials the paper spoke with, White House officials were especially concerned with Trump's election interference remarks because it seemed to them that Trump was forgiving the Russians for interfering in the 2016 election. Special counsel Robert Mueller determined the Russians had interfered in the election and had worked to elect Trump, though there was no evidence the campaign conspired with the Russians. more...

“That is treason. It’s treason pure and simple, and the penalty for treason under the U.S. code is death,” Bill Weld told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe “That’s the only penalty.”
By Barbie Latza Nadeau

Former Massachusetts Governor and Republican presidential challenger Bill Weld said Monday that President Donald Trump’s “acts of treason” in pressuring Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden deserved the death penalty. “That is treason. It’s treason pure and simple, and the penalty for treason under the U.S. code is death,” Weld told MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “That’s the only penalty.” Weld made the shocking statement in a joint appearance with fellow GOP presidential challengers Joe Walsh and Mark Sanford, who are protesting state Republican parties that have decided to cancel primaries to give the edge to the sitting president. “Obviously, canceling primaries undermines democratic institutions and democratic elections, but that’s far from the deepest dive crime that the president has committed here,” Weld said, referring to the growing calls for clarification about Trump’s actions toward Ukraine and the withholding of military funds in the weeks before a July 25 call in which he admitted to discussing an investigation of Hunter Biden. Biden’s son had business dealings in Ukraine at the same time then-Vice President Biden was tasked with overseeing the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy. Trump made the call when he already knew Biden would challenge him in the 2020 presidential election. “He has now acknowledged that in a single phone call right after he suspended $250 million of military aid to Ukraine, he called up the president of Ukraine and pressed him eight times to investigate Joe Biden, who the president thinks is going to be running against him,” Weld said. “Talk about pressuring a foreign country to interfere with and control a U.S. election.” The death penalty is the maximum punishment for treason, but federal law also allows for lesser sentences including five-year prison terms or fines starting at $10,000. The law also states that treasonous acts can prohibit one from holding public office. “The penalty on the Constitution is removal from office,” Weld said. “And that might look like a pretty good alternative to the president if he can work out a plea deal.” Weld then backed off calls for executing the president, but only slightly. “The grounds for removal of office, impeachment, are treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” he said. “We don’t have to worry about bribery anymore, we don’t have to worry about other high crimes and misdemeanors, although I think he committed many. We have treason and we can go right for the hoop.” more...

The whistleblower controversy reveals the limits of our system’s defenses.
By Asha Rangappa

On the surface, the latest confrontation between Congress and the White House involves the Trump administration’s refusal to hand over to the House Intelligence Committee a whistleblower complaint deemed an “urgent concern” by the inspector general for the U.S. intelligence community. But what the showdown is really about is the government’s inability to cope with an unprecedented problem: what to do when the president of the United States poses a national security threat. The case involves a complaint by an intelligence official about communications between President Trump and a foreign leader and a “promise” Trump made, which the intelligence official found alarming enough to notify the inspector general about it. People familiar with the case told The Washington Post that it centers on Ukraine, whose president, Volodymyr Zelensky, spoke with Trump two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed. We don’t yet know the details of the communications or the promise — only that it was, apparently, troubling. Presidents have, of course, acted inappropriately in the past, and our constitutional system has a framework in place for addressing misconduct by the chief executive. But it’s designed to deal with straightforward criminal activity, not national security threats. The special counsel regulations, for example, were created to deal with a Watergate-like situation as a worst-case scenario. So they take into account the need for an investigation insulated from political influence and give special counsels the ability to make prosecutorial decisions independently of the rest of the Justice Department or the attorney general. The rules even envision a report that might be made public. This approach is appropriate when an investigation involves collecting evidence that can hold up in a court of law. But it is inadequate to address potentially noncriminal conduct that may nevertheless endanger the national security of the United States. This split was evident in the report on the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, submitted by then-special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Although Mueller’s mandate was broad, and potentially encompassed a counterintelligence investigation, he narrowed the scope of his inquiry to criminal matters. The final report lays out only the decisions to charge or not charge individuals based on the evidence collected, noting only briefly that counterintelligence information was shared with the FBI for use in its (presumably ongoing) classified investigation. As a result, the public remains in the dark on whether Trump may be wittingly or unwittingly compromised in his dealings with Russia, or if the FBI and the intelligence community have information to explain his oddly submissive behavior with world leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin. Very few people seem to know what’s going on with the counterintelligence investigation: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee chairman, has said that his panel doesn’t know the status of the probe, or even if it’s still going on, even though the law requires the administration to keep the lawmakers up to date. But counterintelligence investigations are stymied if they involve the president. more...

By John Cassidy

ust when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes a Trump development to trump them all—or most of them. On Thursday night, the Washington Post reported that a complaint from an anonymous intelligence whistle-blower, which has been the subject of a bitter oversight dispute between the Trump Administration and Congress, centers on a phone call that Trump had on July 25th, with Ukraine’s recently elected President, Volodymyr Zelensky. Many details about this story remain murky, but the implication seems to be that the whistle-blower is alleging that Trump promised to release two hundred and fifty million dollars in stalled aid for Ukraine if Zelensky would launch a corruption investigation into matters involving Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. You might think that sounds too outrageous to be plausible: a President who spent just under two years being investigated for possibly colluding with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election putting the squeeze on another foreign country to interfere in the 2020 race. But hang on a minute. Shortly after the Post’s story dropped, Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has for months been claiming (without any real evidence) that Joe Biden bribed Ukrainian officials to drop a corruption investigation involving his son, went on Chris Cuomo’s CNN show and said, “It is perfectly appropriate for a President to say to a leader of a foreign country, ‘Investigate this bribe, that was paid by a former Vice-President, that our media in America is covering up.’ ” For the past few days, reporters have been trying to get more details about the whistle-blower’s complaint. Joseph Maguire, the acting director of National Intelligence, has ordered the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community not to pass it along to Congress, a decision that he says was based on legal advice from the Justice Department. The Administration’s refusal to coöperate has caused a mighty row with the House Intelligence Committee, headed by Adam Schiff, Democrat of California. Of course, the Trump Administration and the Democrats on Capitol Hill are involved in many disputes arising from congressional investigations into Trump and his associates. But until now none of them have involved the suggestion that Trump may have exerted pressure on a foreign leader to take actions to help his 2020 reëlection bid, and may have even pledged something in return. Even before this latest revelation, however, Trump’s conversation with Zelensky, a former comedian and screenwriter who was elected President of Ukraine in April, had attracted the attention of congressional Democrats, who were investigating what Trump and Giuliani were up to on the Kiev front. In August, reports emerged that Trump was threatening to withhold two hundred and fifty million dollars in U.S. aid to Ukraine, which was supposed to be used to deter Russian aggression in the east of the country. On September 9th, the leaders of three Democrat-controlled House committees demanded the transcript and a list of participants on the July 25th call. The Democrats said that Giuliani and Trump “appear to have acted outside legitimate law enforcement and diplomatic channels.” The Democrats also referred to a Ukrainian government readout from the July 25th call, which said that Trump told Zelensky he was “convinced the new Ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve [the] image of Ukraine, [and] complete [the] investigation of corruption cases, which inhibited the interaction between Ukraine and the USA.” more...

By Elliot Hannon

A U.S. intelligence official alarmed by President Trump’s communications with a foreign leader filed an official whistleblower complaint last month with the inspector general for the intelligence community, the Washington Post reports. Trump’s interactions with the leader, whose identity has not been disclosed, included what the Post described as “a promise” the official “regarded as so troubling” that the official came forward. It’s not clear what form the interaction took place, though one intelligence official told the Post that it was a phone call. Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson found the complaint, which was filed on Aug. 12, to be credible and designated the matter of “urgent concern,” a legal classification that is supposed to prompt the notification of oversight committees in Congress. Acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire, however, has so far refused to share the whistleblower’s concerns with Congress, setting off yet another power struggle between congressional leaders and the Trump administration, as well as speculation over what leader Trump may have acted inappropriately with. more...  

By Zachary Cohen, CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump's communications with a foreign leader, which included a "promise," sparked the whistleblower complaint that has led the acting director of national intelligence to agree to testify amid a showdown with Congress, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. The Post reported that an official in the American intelligence community was so bothered by a "promise" Trump made to a foreign leader that the official filed a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general of the intelligence community, according to two former US officials familiar with the matter. It's unknown which leader Trump was speaking to and it's the first time his direct involvement in the complaint has been reported, according to the Post. The complaint was filed on August 12 and White House records show Trump had spoken to or interacted with five foreign leaders in the previous five weeks, the Post reports: Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands and the Emir of Qatar. However, it's not clear that the communication that inspired the complaint was with any of those leaders. The White House did not respond to the Post's requests for comment and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and a lawyer representing the whistleblower declined to comment to the Post. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence also declined to comment when reached by CNN on Wednesday. The complaint has led to a standoff between Congress and acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, who has refused to turn over the complaint to the House Intelligence Committee. Maguire has agreed to testify next week in an open session before the committee after refusing to comply with Tuesday's deadline to hand over the whistleblower complaint, which had been deemed by the intelligence community inspector general to be "credible and urgent." The committee's chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, announced Wednesday that Maguire will appear at 9 a.m. on September 26. The California Democrat also announced that the intelligence community inspector general will brief the House committee Thursday behind closed doors about how it handled the whistleblower complaint. In a subpoena issued last week, Schiff said he would force the acting intelligence chief to testify this Thursday if he did not comply with a request to turn over the complaint and all corresponding records. On Tuesday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence sent letters to Schiff and ranking Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California, saying not only that Maguire was refusing to provide the requested information -- as the complaint "does not meet the definition of 'urgent concern' " -- but also that he would not appear before the committee as scheduled because he "is not available on such short notice." But by Wednesday, the two sides appeared to have reached a compromise, if only on the timing of the hearing, setting the stage for what could be a contentious public hearing. Maguire will likely be grilled by lawmakers concerned that the administration may have violated whistleblower protections and whether President Donald Trump or top White House officials were involved in the case. Schiff said Monday that he does not know the exact nature of the complaint, as he has not yet received the details from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, nor does he know the whistleblower's identity. He has argued that Maguire has taken unprecedented steps to withhold the information from Congress. According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's letter Tuesday to Schiff, obtained by CNN, the complaint does not involve anyone in the intelligence community but rather "stakeholders within the Executive Branch." As a result, its lawyer argues, the complaint is not of "urgent concern" to the office. more...

By Sonam Sheth

US officials were so alarmed by President Donald Trump's decision to reveal classified intelligence to Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting in 2017 that they extracted a top-secret source from Russia shortly after, CNN reported on Monday. Intelligence officials typically extract sources when they believe the person's life is in immediate danger. The information Trump shared with the Russians wasn't directly connected to the source, but CNN reported that its disclosure prompted officials to "renew earlier discussions" about the potential risk that the source would be exposed. The president has repeatedly been accused of mishandling classified information that could compromise the US's intelligence-gathering methods and put lives at risk. The US was forced to extract a top-secret source from Russia after President Donald Trump revealed classified information to two Russian officials in 2017, CNN reported on Monday. A person directly involved with the discussions told the outlet the US was concerned that Trump and his administration routinely mishandled classified intelligence and that their actions could expose the covert source as a spy within the Russian government. Trump stunned the national-security apparatus and intelligence community when it surfaced that in an Oval Office meeting in May 2017 he shared the information with Sergey Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, and Sergey Kislyak, then Russia's ambassador to the US.  Trump's disclosure was not specifically about the Russian spy. But his disregard of strict intelligence-sharing rules to protect highly placed sources "prompted intelligence officials to renew earlier discussions about the potential risk" that the source in Russya would be exposed, CNN reported. At the Oval Office meeting, which took place one day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the president is said to have boasted to the Russians that firing "nut job" Comey had taken "great pressure" off him. Comey had been spearheading the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. Trump then went on to share with Lavrov and Kislyak intelligence connected to the Islamic State in Syria. The information came from Israel, which had not given the US permission to share it with the Russians because it could have compromised an Israeli source in the region. more...

By Geoff Brumfiel - NPR

President Trump has tweeted what experts say is almost certainly an image from a classified satellite or drone, showing the aftermath of an accident at an Iranian space facility. "The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir [Space Launch Vehicle] Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran," the president said in a tweet that accompanied the image on Friday. "I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One." NPR broke the news of the launch failure on Thursday, using images from commercial satellites that flew over Iran's Imam Khomeini Space Center. Those images showed smoke billowing from the pad. Iran has since acknowledged an accident occurred at the site. Some of the highest-resolution imagery available commercially comes from the company Maxar, whose WorldView-2 satellite sports 46-centimeter resolution. But the image shown in the president's tweet appears to be of far better quality, says Ankit Panda, an adjunct senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, who specializes in analyzing satellite imagery. "The resolution is amazingly high," says Panda. "I would think it's probably below well below 20 centimeters, which is much higher than anything I've ever seen." more...

by Ryan Pickrell,Sonam Sheth

President Donald Trump tweeted out an image on Friday from a classified briefing to taunt Iran, and analysts suspect the photo came from one of the US's most advanced satellites. Specifically, the photo is believed to have come from a US KH-11 spy satellite called USA-224. "These are high resolution optical satellites that resemble the Hubble Space Telescope but look down to Earth instead of to the heavens," Marco Langbroek, a Dutch expert who tracks satellites, wrote recently. Trump's tweet came a day after an Iranian rocket designed to carry satellites into space exploded on the launchpad last Thursday, NPR reported. Commercial satellite imagery of the blast was publicly available after the incident, but the photo in Trump's tweet was of a much higher resolution and better quality, leaving experts flabbergasted. "I've never seen anything like this before," Dave Schmerler, the leading expert on open source imagery analysis who analyzed the Planet Labs photos provided to NPR, told Insider's Alex Lockie. "I know that [the US military has] amazing capabilities, but I don't know what this is." Cees Bassa, a professional astronomer who works at ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, was among the first to suggest that based on the features of the launchpad in the photo and the positioning of the camera, the image likely came from the USA-224. Michael Thompson, a Purdue University graduate student studying astrodynamics and spacecraft navigation, also used publicly available data to determine the USA-224 passed over the Iranian space center Thursday, Spaceflight Now reported. Bassa explained that these satellites, known as Keyhole satellites, "are believed to produce the sharpest images of the Earth's surface." Langbroek was also able to simulate the view from the USA-224, and it was a match to the photo Trump tweeted out. "It is a very good match so there is no doubt in my mind that it is an image taken by USA-224," Langbroek wrote on Twitter. more...

MANILA (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump told his Philippine counterpart that Washington has sent two nuclear submarines to waters off the Korean peninsula, the New York Times said, comments likely to raise questions about his handling of sensitive information. Trump has said “a major, major conflict” with North Korea is possible because of its nuclear and missile programs and that all options are on the table but that he wants to resolve the crisis diplomatically. North Korea has vowed to develop a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead that can strike the mainland United States, saying the program is necessary to counter U.S. aggression. Trump told Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Washington had “a lot of firepower over there”, according to the New York Times, which quoted a transcript of an April 29 call between the two. more...

Cyber-security protocols, the president has complained, are “inconvenient.”
By Maya Kosoff

During a June 2016 campaign speech, Donald Trump turned yet again to one of his favorite topics: Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. “Her server was easily hacked by foreign governments, perhaps even by her financial backers in communist China,” he said, “putting all of America and our citizens in danger, great danger.” Yet when it comes to “the cyber,” Trump and his minions seem to have adopted a stance that’s equally blasé. Not only have myriad reports emerged of officials using encrypted, disappearing-message services like Confide, in potential violation of federal record-keeping laws, but Steve Bannon, Gary Cohn, Jared Kushner, and Reince Priebus all occasionally relied on private e-mail and electronic devices to conduct government business. Chief of Staff John Kelly’s personal cell phone was reportedly compromised for months while he served as secretary of homeland security, under a president who didn’t bother to secure his Android phone or the Wi-Fi networks on his many properties. And it seems the president’s willful neglect of cyber-security has continued well into his time in office. Citing administration officials, Politico reports that Trump’s call-enabled White House iPhone—he has “at least” two phones, one to make and receive calls and another that’s pre-loaded with several news sites and the Twitter app—is not equipped with security features designed to shield his communications from would-be hackers and other surveillance. And though his staff has reportedly urged him to swap out the Twitter phone once a month, he’s resisted, calling it “too inconvenient.” (Both smartphones are supplied by White House Information Technology and the White House Communications Agency, which oversees White House telecommunications.) While Trump’s predecessor had his phones examined for suspicious activity every 30 days, Trump has reportedly gone as long as five months without turning in his Twitter-capable device for inspection. And unlike Barack Obama’s White House-issued cell phones, Trump’s call-enabled iPhone has a camera and microphone, increasing the risk that it could be used to hack and monitor the president. (The G.P.S. tracker is disabled.) The White House has refuted the idea that the microphone and camera make Trump vulnerable, telling Politico, “Due to inherent capabilities and advancement in technologies, these devices are more secure than any Obama-era devices.” A senior West Wing official told Politico that the call-enabled phone is “seamlessly swapped out on a regular basis through routine support operations,” though “because of the security controls of the Twitter phone and the Twitter account,” that device “does not necessitate regular change-out.” more...

By Jeff Robbins

Donald Trump’s boosters like to conjure up a secret “deep state” embedded in the bowels of the U.S. government, a supposed conspiracy of individuals who block, defy or otherwise threaten our national security from within. Part of Trump’s genius, of course, is accusing critics of the very things of which he is guilty, and so it is with his claim that it is others within the government who pose a threat to the country. Week after week, the Trump experience spawns evidence that the only “deep state” jeopardizing our national security is in the person of the president himself, and last week was no exception. However understated it was on other points, Robert Mueller’s report minced no words about the Russian government’s attack on America’s democracy in 2016, stating at its outset: “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.” Mueller’s investigation “established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency, and worked to secure that outcome.” For its part, the investigators found, Trump’s team “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts,” and they “identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.” In short, the Russian government worked in “sweeping” fashion to place Trump in office because it concluded that it was to Russia’s advantage to have him there. That ought to make every American who worries about our national security shudder. The right’s cavalier shrugging off of a hostile foreign power’s efforts to install a president to its liking, whether attributable to blindness or hypocrisy or delusion, is one of the questions with which historians examining how it is that America fell asleep during the Trump era will no doubt grapple. more...  

The president has kept features at risk for hacking and resisted efforts by staff to inspect the phones he uses for tweeting.

President Donald Trump uses a White House cellphone that isn’t equipped with sophisticated security features designed to shield his communications, according to two senior administration officials — a departure from the practice of his predecessors that potentially exposes him to hacking or surveillance. The president, who relies on cellphones to reach his friends and millions of Twitter followers, has rebuffed staff efforts to strengthen security around his phone use, according to the administration officials. The president uses at least two iPhones, according to one of the officials. The phones — one capable only of making calls, the other equipped only with the Twitter app and preloaded with a handful of news sites — are issued by White House Information Technology and the White House Communications Agency, an office staffed by military personnel that oversees White House telecommunications. While aides have urged the president to swap out the Twitter phone on a monthly basis, Trump has resisted their entreaties, telling them it was “too inconvenient,” the same administration official said. The president has gone as long as five months without having the phone checked by security experts. It is unclear how often Trump’s call-capable phones, which are essentially used as burner phones, are swapped out. President Barack Obama handed over his White House phones every 30 days to be examined by telecommunications staffers for hacking and other suspicious activity, according to an Obama administration official. The White House declined to comment for this story, but a senior West Wing official said the call-capable phones “are seamlessly swapped out on a regular basis through routine support operations. Because of the security controls of the Twitter phone and the Twitter account, it does not necessitate regular change-out.” more...

From his tweets to his bluster to his white supremacist policies, Donald Trump poses a security risk to the United States. He is actively making us less safe with each day in office. Here is a running list of just some of the ways he has threatened our safety. more...

The president rebutted a New York Times report that Chinese and Russian spies eavesdrop on his iPhone calls, tweeting, "I rarely use a cellphone."
By Adam Edelman

U.S. officials told NBC News on Thursday that they have been concerned for months that President Donald Trump has been discussing sensitive information on an unsecured cellphone with informal advisers, including Sean Hannity of Fox News. The information comes after The New York Times reported that Chinese and Russian spies have been listening to personal phone calls Trump has made from his cellphones. Several aides to Trump have repeatedly warned the president of the routine eavesdropping on his unsecure phones, The Times reported. Trump, however, has refused to give up his iPhones, the paper said. NBC News has not confirmed aspects of that report. Trump on Thursday denied the claims, calling it "soooo wrong" in a pair of tweets. "The so-called experts on Trump over at the New York Times wrote a long and boring article on my cellphone usage that is so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it. I only use Government Phones, and have only one seldom used government cell phone. Story is soooo wrong!" he tweeted. "The New York Times has a new Fake Story that now the Russians and Chinese (glad they finally added China) are listening to all of my calls on cellphones," Trump added. "Except that I rarely use a cellphone, & when I do it’s government authorized. I like Hard Lines. Just more made up Fake News!" more...

Naming of Salman Abedi by ‘US officials’ hours before it was announced by UK authorities is latest in series of leaks that may damage credibility with allies. American officials have been criticised for leaking the identity of the Manchester bomber before British police officially named him. Salman Abedi was identified in media reports that attributed “US officials” as the source even as their British counterparts remained tight-lipped. The disclosures renewed concerns over leaks from Donald Trump’s administration two weeks after the US president revealed classified information, apparently from Israel, to Russia’s foreign minister in a White House meeting. Critics warn that US allies may be less willing to share intelligence in the future. Although UK journalists had Abedi’s name, the UK government and Greater Manchester police declined to confirm it more than two hours after it appeared in the US press. Earlier in the day, the government indicated it might not release the name at all on Tuesday because the investigation was continuing. On Monday night, a correspondent for America’s ABC network tweeted: “Leading theory is Manchester was a suicide bomber, US senior law enforcement official briefed on the investigation tells @ABC.” On Tuesday, CBS and NBC were quick to name the suspect believed to have blown himself up following an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena as 22-year-old Salman Abedi. The Reuters news agency, an international organisation with headquarters in London, also published the name, citing “three US officials”, before British police made it public. The Trump administration’s apparent indiscretion seems likely to cause consternation in London and could raise questions about future cooperation in the long term. more...

By Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State. The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said. The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency. “This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.” The revelation comes as the president faces rising legal and political pressure on multiple Russia-related fronts. Last week, he fired FBI Director James B. Comey in the midst of a bureau investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Trump’s subsequent admission that his decision was driven by “this Russia thing” was seen by critics as attempted obstruction of justice. One day after dismissing Comey, Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — a key figure in earlier Russia controversies — into the Oval Office. It was during that meeting, officials said, that Trump went off script and began describing details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft. more...

On May 10, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump disclosed classified information to Russian government representatives, creating political and security concerns in the United States and its allies, especially Israel. Soon after the meeting, American intelligence extracted a high-level covert source from within the Russian government, on concerns the individual could be at risk due, in part, to Trump and his administration repeatedly mishandling classified intelligence. President Donald Trump discussed classified information provided by an U.S. ally regarding about a planned Islamic State operation during an Oval Office meeting on May 10, 2017 with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, providing sufficient details that could be used by the Russians to deduce the identity of the ally and the manner in which it was collected, according to current and former government officials. The disclosure was first reported in The Washington Post on May 15, 2017. White House staff initially denied the report, but the following day Trump defended the disclosure, stating that he has the "absolute right" to "share" intelligence with Russia. It was later reported that Israel was the source of the information. Israel did not confirm or deny the report but released a statement stating full confidence in the intelligence sharing relationships with the United States. Ynetnews, an Israeli news website, had previously reported on January 12 that in a meeting held in early January (during Trump's presidential transition), U.S. intelligence officials advised Israeli Mossad and other intelligence officials to "be careful" when transferring intelligence information to the Trump White House and administration until the possibility of Russian influence over Trump, suggested by Christopher Steele's report (commonly referred as the Trump–Russia dossier), has been fully investigated. U.S. officials were concerned that the information, particularly about sensitive intelligence sources, could be passed to Russia and then to Iran. Two Israeli intelligence officials confirmed privately that Trump's disclosure of the intelligence to Russia was "for us, our worst fears confirmed." They said the disclosure jeopardizes Israel's "arrangement with America which is unique to the world of intelligence sharing" and that Israeli officials were "boiling mad and demanding answers". The report was described as "shocking" and "horrifying" by some commentators and former U.S. intelligence officials. According to current and former U.S. officials interviewed by ABC News, Trump's disclosure endangered the life of a spy placed by Israel in ISIL-held territory in Syria. The classified information Trump shared came from a source described as the most valuable of any current sources on any current external plotting, according to The Wall Street Journal. more...

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